Monthly Archives: January 2012

Alica’s OCD tips for Holiday Happiness (pat. pending)

Standard

By now most of you have gotten all of the holiday decorations put away, new gifts have found homes, and at least one credit card statement has shown up in the mail; you may or may not have been brave enough to open it yet.

One thing I feel safe betting on is most of you have vowed to do things differently next year. But how are you going to do that? What can you change to make the next holiday season better and do you really need to think about it now?

I have become one of those people who shops for gifts year round, mostly because I am addicted to teefury.com they have one-of-a-kind tee shirts. A new one each day and only for the day. So if I see something that is perfect for my sister I have to buy it right then, or it’ll be gone.

Tee shirts might not be your thing, but there are simple things you can do now that will make next year’s credit card bills less painful.
If you are crafty, start now. I’ll be picking a new pattern for knitted gifts and start working on them now so I have plenty for next holiday season and I’m not up at 3am knitting as fast as I can while watching a marathon of Say Yes to the Dress.

If you have storage space start buying things as you see them. Would your cousin love that book? Your son that dinosaur? Your husband that new bedroom toy? Go ahead and get it now. I have a storage box I tuck gifts into as I get them. And if dinos have been replaced by robots by next year, give it to another child on your list or donate it to one of the many toy drives.

“But I don’t have storage space,” you wail. Fear not I have a plan for that too. Gift cards. No, you don’t have to give them gift cards as gifts, but buy gifts cards to the stores you shop at most for the holiday and spend them instead of using your credit card. This is great for those of us who don’t save well. Tuck them in a safe place that you’ll remember. Every time you go to one of the big chain stores pick up a gift card to the place where you shopped the most this year. Me, I’ll be colleting Amazon gift cards. If you’re worried about your money tied up in gift cards you can’t use, buy Visa gift cards.

I know thinking about the holidays now doesn’t feel right or takes the fun out of the season, but wouldn’t it be great to have the stress of gift shopping done by Dec 1st so you could actually enjoy all the parties?

For those of you who have vowed to “do things different” I encourage you to try some of my tips, a little bit of time and money now could mean a huge difference next holiday season.

While searching for a song I found that the 2012 Eurovison song contest has started!!!! I’m so excited, so I’ll post favorites, and weird songs, and whatever catches my fancy. Here is Switzerland’s entry this year. What do you think?

Advertisements

I Saw the Devil

Standard


You know those movies where the good guy arrests the bad guy instead of killing him or her? Or the one where the bad guys dies and it’s over so quickly that you feel cheated and you’re yelling at the screen “He needed to suffer, suffer and then die.” I hope that’s not just me?

Anyway I Saw the Devil is not one of those movies.

This is a movie about revenge, about making the bad guy pay for every second of pain he caused you. This is a movie that makes you wonder how cruel and sadistic you could be if faced with the same type of monster.

I never felt sorry for the bad guy – not once, but the revenge began to leave a sour taste in my mouth and I wondered if it was worth it. When Kim Soo-hyeon is done, when he finally kills Kyung-chul does he feel vindicated? Will he look back on the horrors he’s committed, on the taint left on his soul, and be happy?

This is an amazingly well done movie. I was riveted and disgusted the whole time. It mentions sexual violence, and we see a young girl about to be raped and a young woman who is forced to strip and perform oral sex, both are stopped by our hero. This is not a movie for children and only for older teens if you think they can handle graphic realistic sadistic violence.

If you have ever wanted to see a movie where the good guy kicks ass and the bad guy suffers for his crimes, then this is the movie for you.

Your opinion is wanted – really I mean it.

Standard

Spurred on by Myndi Shafer’s post on log lines I have decided to beg, plead, and give puppy eyes to get you’re most valuable and knowledgeable opinion.

I have three blurbs for you to vote on- you can even tweak them or create a new one if you feel that inspired. People I like and respect have all chosen one of these three as their favorites- of course they didn’t pick the same blurb, that would make my life too easy!
So please help out a new freaking out author and vote!

1-Sara had given up on the group home fairy tale of being rescued from the system by family. All she wanted was a quiet simple life. On the morning of her fourteenth birthday that dream shattered.
Scrubbing and praying don’t undo the unwelcome changes to her life, and fate isn’t done with her yet. Feeling other people’s emotions is overwhelming and disturbing, worse is catching on fire.
Family she never knew she had, is now invading her life. They call it a gift, but gifts don’t come with evil maniacs wanting to drain your power and your life.

2- Sara‘s dreams didn’t involve finding family, changing her name, discovering magical creatures are real, or catching on fire.
Orphaned at five Sara had given up on the dream of a family. At fourteen an ancient family inheritance, a gift, or curse changed her appearance, and her life. With new supernatural powers she is welcomed into the family of the Phoenix.
Sara must decide if she will hide or embrace being a Child of Fire and accept a dangerous destiny as a descendant of an ancient Phoenix King and Queen and the enemy of the evil that stalked and killed her parents.

3-Sara had dreams for her life and they didn’t involve finding family, changing her name, discovering fairy tale creatures are real, or catching on fire.
The most exciting thing Sara had planned for winter break was starting circus camp. Fate had other ideas. Orphaned at five, Sara didn’t know if her family always woke up on their fourteenth birthday to find their life and appearance changed.
With a dangerous destiny laid before her Sara must decide if she will hide from all that is being offered her, or will embrace being a Child of Fire.

Also I have decided I’m ready or crazy enough and want to add some interviews of my fellow authors to my blog posts. I’m thinking about doing 2-3 a month. So if you’re interested just let me know. You can email me at alicamj@gmail.com or just leave a note in the comments. I’ll wait a week before posting this on facebook and twitter as I’d like to support all of you lovely people who support me.
Thanks, Alica

At least there’s a glass . . .

Standard

I realized that I have become a pessimist, and not a simple “the glass is half empty” pessimist, more of a “I bet someone put poison in that glass and is going to charge me to drink out of it, and then it’s going to break into a thousand pieces, each one cutting me before I begin foaming at the mouth and die in writhing agony” kind of a pessimist.

I wasn’t always this way. I use to smile and laugh all the time. I looked forward to what the day would bring, and be grateful for all that I had, and look on the bright side of things.

Now I groan thinking of what I have to do next, all that’s on my to-do list, and think of all the ways things could go wrong in any given second. Paranoid much? They must have drugs for this.
Oh, I have books and can tell you at least a dozen different things I could do, or should do, or would do if only I had time/money/focus/a car/ or blue glitter.

There are herbs and vitamin I can take to help my stress, and frequently I do. When I exercise I feel better as long as I avoid the mirrors and scales. Writing, of course helps. But what really needs to change is me.

I’m waiting for my world to change, for my money situation to improve, for the kids in my house to be different, to have a car, to find balance, to buy blue glitter. Yet none of these things matter. I have to change. I have to decide to find joy and gratitude in caring for four ADD boys- more then being grateful I have a job- which I am very very grateful for.

I need to find time to breathe and smile and laugh at simple things.
I need to stop passing by the emails from Oprah’s Life class. I need to finish reading the book on Spiritual Lesson for Weight loss. I need to find joy in my day-to-day life again. I need to count my blessings and stop listing my failures. I need to be grateful for the penny in my wallet and not list all the things I need to pay for. I need to stop being jealous of those people in my life with time or money or a car or who have found their passion and start celebrating with them the blessings they have so I can start recognizing my own blessings.

I need to stop being such a crabby bitch, and lighten up.

Bayard/Lamb Vote for a Pair in the White House!

Standard

I am thrilled to be hosting the lovely, practical, and fierce Piper Bayard and Kristen Lamb on their world renown blog tour. I hope the questions I have asked this dynamic duo will entertain you and help you choose who to vote for this November!

1- With the internet the world is become a smaller place and yet it feels like we really don’t know a lot if any thing about other countries and cultures, how will you help us get to know other peoples and their way of life?

Actually, with the internet and the constant emphasis in popular culture on “cultural diversity,” we think the most elusive cultural concept is that of American culture. So we would start out by introducing people to American culture.

America has become so fractured by Special Snowflake groups, all in a race to hyphenate themselves into special status, special benefits, and special linguistic treatment, that this country has forgotten what we all share – an American culture.

What is American culture? It’s this computer we’re reading on. It’s the car we drive. It’s the subway we ride.

And the smartass t-shirts we’re wearing? Hard core American culture. Seriously. Nothing says American like a smartass t-shirt.

And ketchup. Would the French have invented ketchup? The Germans? The Africans? No. Way. In fact, we came up with ketchup just to piss them off. It ties us together as a people. We even put ketchup on our smartass t-shirts. What could be more American? That’s what our school kids need to be learning instead of how different we would all like to think we are.

We could go on, but the fact is that there is entirely too much emphasis on “cultural diversity.” We need more emphasis on what makes us Americans. More cultural solidarity. Let the uniting force of ketchup flow!

2- In my work I see a lot of children not reading at grade level. The current school programs just aren’t working. How will you help increase not only our children’s ability to read but their love of reading?

First of all, we will leave them alone and let them be kids. According to the wisdom of ages, children aren’t developmentally ready to read until they begin to lose their teeth (around age seven). Part of the reason many kids don’t love reading is because they’re stuffed into chairs and force-fed the alphabet from the time they are three years old. You know that generation of Americans who put men on the moon with a slide rule? Yeah. They learned to read at age seven, and they were fine.

When the kids reach second grade, we will provide them with Kinects and interactive video games. Their world is a world of internet and text so we will teach them with their own tools. Not only will they learn to read, but teaching them with Kinect will also combat childhood obesity. It’s win/win. Kids get their few precious years to be kids, and when they do learn to read, they are getting a bit of exercise, as well.

3- In times of possible or emanate disaster our government has put out notices of emergency supplies everyone we should have on hand. With an Alien Invasion and/or Zombie Apocalypse looming over us, what will you as our fearless leaders recommend for us to fill our emergency boxes with?

Pictures of Nancy Pelosi and Rosie O’Donnell in bikinis. It will make aliens turn around and go home immediately, and it will make zombies rip out their own eyes and start eating themselves. If you still want to live, yourself, after seeing those pictures, stock up on ammo and Twinkies.

4- I remember from an earlier post your plan to help with the energy crisis by giving everyone a bicycle to help power our gadgets, and there by losing weight- I’d like mine to be and elliptical please. However as the fattest country in the world it seems to me we need to change our relationship with food. The French have five course school lunches and frown on parents picking up their children during lunch. The Japanese have made it illegal to be overweight. How will you education adults and children in order to eat healthier?

Our Secy of Agriculture Shawna Coronado, has already started a campaign to make food, itself, healthier. The fact is that there is something fundamentally wrong when we can blindfold people and put fruit in front of them, and they can’t tell us what it is because it doesn’t smell like fruit.

Big Food puts everything from GMO’s to beaver anal glands (“natural flavorings”) in our food, and they aren’t even required to tell us. We believe people should know what is going into their bodies. We will have stringent labeling regulations, and we will go after the food industry with the same fervor as people went after the cigarette industry. Our motto will be, “If a second grader can’t read it, don’t eat it.”

5- Teenagers can make some amazingly stupid choices. Is there anything you’ll be able to do to help our teens make healthy choices? I would be nice if more of them could reach their early twenty without getting pregnant, maimed in a DUI, or joining a cult.

As the saying goes, you can’t grow brains and balls (or boobs) at the same time. The fact is that teenagers are going to make stupid choices. That’s why we call them teenagers and we don’t let them vote or drink.

However, we believe the way to start influencing kids to make more sensible choices is to start with the adults. Particularly in schools, there’s no common sense in dealing with kids. As a result, there is no respect for authority, and there is no trust when a teen needs guidance.

Take Zero Tolerance policies, for example. A 10-year-old child in Piper’s school district found she’d picked up her mother’s lunch bag, which contained a small knife to peel an apple. She immediately turned in the knife. Her reward for her honesty and good citizenship? She was suspended from school. I’m guessing she will never make the mistake of talking sensibly to an adult at her school again.

How can we complain about kids not using their brains when we don’t use ours? We will start teaching teens by being better examples. We will re-introduce intelligence and discretion when dealing with our youth rather than simply enforce reactionary measures that abdicate our responsibility to think and respond appropriately. We’re running on the platform of common sense. Instead of trickle down economics, we’re going for trickle down horse sense.

6- We put such a huge emphasis on school and college that those children and adults without that type of book/study intelligence feel stupid and less then- it didn’t always use to be this way. Do you have a plan to make blue collar jobs respectable choices again? Will there be education programs in High School for those who would rather rebuild an engine, lay tile, or landscape then sit and read another text book on the civil war?

We would turn once again to reality TV. Right or wrong, the entertainment industry leads our nation in defining pop culture concepts, such as the concept of physical beauty. In the 1950s, “5’2” and eyes of blue” was all the rage, not to mention blonde hair and white girls.

It wasn’t until such greats as Tyra, Naomi Campbell, Grace Jones became beauty and movie icons that concepts of beauty expanded to include the majority of the population. And Star Trek, alone, was revolutionary with its cast: Lt. Uhura in the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, Checkov in the deep of the Cold War, and Sulu only 20 years after our war with Japan, and while we were at war with Viet Nam. All of these characters were popular images that challenged traditional stereotypes.

If we’re going to get kids excited about being carpenters, policemen and plumbers, we need to glorify those professions in popular culture. Have a “bachelor” who drives a garbage truck. Have a reality TV series about how much money plumbers make. Have sit coms about landscapers who love their work. Kids need to see healthy examples of blue collar professions in the pop culture around them.

7. Every year there are dozens of articles, news reports, and talks on body image and how our media effects our children’s views of themselves. One of the things I like about BBC shows is they have real average looking people in them- not always, but even their pin up lovely ones are more real looking then most of our actors and actresses. Can you as our future leaders do anything about the images our children are exposed to?

Have the children turn off the TV and go outside to play. Then refer to our answer for question 6. J

We want to thank Alica for her time and for hosting us today. It’s been an honor.

If you would like to host a Bayard/Lamb 2012 Campaign Blog Tour Stop, please contact Piper at piperbayard@yahoo.com. And remember. Vote Bayard/Lamb 2012 – Because We’re Not the Other Guys.

Korean sci-fi

Standard

2009 Lost Memories- I have another Korean movie for you. This one has a bit of a sci-fi theme to it. It’s an alternate reality where Japan joined America in WWII and then took over Korea and most of Eastern Asia. I had fun watching this movie. Hubby and I yelled at the TV during the cheesy parts and got into the drama of the plot during the rest. There were some parts where the film was grainy- maybe they ran out of money for special effects?

One thing I enjoyed is as the hero grows and changes the differences between the Korean and Japanese cultures become more pronounced.

All in all it was fun- and if you’re a fan of Korean, sci-fi, and/or time travel movies then go watch this one. Again not the best but all in all very fun, esp. if you have someone to yell at the screen with you.

100 today!

Standard

Today is my 100th post. I can’t believe I’ve done that many. So of course I want to post something witty, heart-felt, and funny. SSsssssssssooooooooooooooooo Uuuuummmmmmmmmm Let’s see. What to blog about?

Chocolate?

The Old Spice Guy?

Cute Baby Animals?

Vampires?

Make-up advice? NWS

Or maybe I should just tell every one of you thank you! Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. And Thank you for supporting me!

Big hugs to all of you!

More Food Porn with two Fat Ladies

Standard

Two Fat Ladies is a hysterical British cooking show staring Clarissa Dickson-Wright and Jennifer Paterson. The ladies travel around England in a motorcycle with a sidecar. The ladies use fresh, local ingredients to make traditional English meals. This is a wonderful peek into the English countryside and watching them cook is so much fun! As a vegetarian I can’t eat most of what the ladies cook, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the show anyway. They are so sarcastic and snarky, it’s a very fun show. If you find yourself tired of re-runs of your favorite food shows then you need to check out Two Fat Ladies.

What Does Your Food Tell Us About You?

Standard

Last night my son and I were snacking on Flaming Hot Cheetos with Lime. I didn’t have any cream cheese to dip them in, so while they were good, it wasn’t the perfect snack. Recently my son switched from a self-paced, half-day charter school full of kids who couldn’t cope with regular high school. to a private college prep school. It’s an interesting story, maybe someday I’ll post it here.:)

As we munched, I asked Logan if the kids at his school ate hot Cheetos. He snorted and said “No.” I was surprised because at the group home hot Cheetos are like crack. The kids will do almost anything for them, even behave well for relief staff.

When I asked about his old school, Logan said the vending machine had four slots for hot Cheetos. This started me wondering How much does the food we eat tell about us? My food has changed over the years, including vegetarian, vegan, preggy cravings, and now vegetarian and gluten free. I don’t know how much my food tells about me any more. Maybe there is some research about upbringing, whether you fell on your head, and the phase of the moon at your birth that makes you more likely to become vegetarian.

As I’ve worked at the group home I have been introduced to hot Cheetos with cream cheese or avocado which you scoop out of the rind with the Cheetos, sour cream in spaghetti, and Mexican candy, a mix of chilies and sweet.

I took my son, who does eat meat, to get Sonoran hot dogs. These are hot dogs wrapped in bacon and covered in beans, salsa, onions, cheese, and avocado. He fell in love with them, and really why not? Yet, it still isn’t something everyone in Tucson eats. It’s not served in the Mexican restaurants in predominantly white areas, it a Mexican/Mexican food. And why are these so different?

Have you even gotten to go to a restaurant that caters to its own people? In high school I had several friends who were Chinese, with parents from China, and they would take me with them to Chinatown. The food we would get was very different then anything I had ever eaten at an American- Chinese restaurant. The flavors weren’t as salty or sweet, the textures of the foods were different, and I’ll admit it took me a bit to get use to the more chewy rice noodles, but they are really good.

What does your food and drink tell about you? Could someone go through your cupboards and figure out how you grew up? Ever tried Flaming Hot Cheetos with Lime? If not, trust me, you want to eat them with cream cheese.

Today’s song is from Dhoom 2 and preformed by the amazing Aishwarya Rai

Wishing I was a 1950’s Housewife

Standard

Several weeks ago I made a big mistake at work. While I knew I was going to be in trouble and maybe reprimanded on Monday when the boss came back in, I was assured by my friend, who gave me a heads up that I wasn’t going to be fired. While this should have calmed me down, it didn’t. For two reasons: I’m a writer, and my brain took off creating the worst possible futures; second, I was sick with a fever, which meant those scenarios morphed into nightmarish scenes full of my family living under a bridge with Zombies snacking on our flesh because we were too weak from hunger to run away.

I don’t wait well.

The whole point of this is that right now my job supports my family. My husband is self employed and works hard, but I make more then he does, and our apartment is part of my pay. I live where I work. This means if I lose my job, we’re homeless. I hate it. I don’t like being the main bread winner. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and the fact that I can support us, but I hate having that much responsibility. I think I might be happier in pearls and pumps ,vacuuming the house and not worrying my pretty little head about such things. The poster child for feminism I am not. LOL!

So to all the breadwinners out there, I feel your pain and stress. I understand why you bend to your bosses wishes, and why you work late and bring work home. I understand that you would rather be home with your family, and you’re willing to sacrifice that family time to make sure they have a home to be in.

Have you thanked the breadwinner in your life lately? And if it’s you, do something nice for yourself but not when you’re on the clock.

Oh and no worries, I’m not under a bridge, my boss rocks, and we got everything worked out without my bursting into tears.